Does art imitate life? Any broker who watches Netflix’s hit reality series “Selling Sunset” knows that, in most cases, it does not. You are not Jason Oppenheim, and the drama portrayed on screen is just that—drama. But wow, does it make for binge-worthy TV!
Netflix is serving up a seventh season of “Selling Sunset” this week, showcasing luxury real estate agents at the Oppenheim Group, Los Angeles’s premier luxury real estate brokerage. If you’re unfamiliar with it, take a peek here:
But even amidst the drama, “Selling Sunset” is full of real estate business tips that brokers can leverage to improve their bottom lines and stay ahead of the competition. Here is what we’ve learned from the stars of “Selling Sunset.”
Casual viewers and superfans alike will agree on at least one thing: the agents work hard. Many have challenges finding listings and closing deals for their clients. They are pounding the pavement (albeit in designer heels), showing their multi-million-dollar listings, and stressing about not closing enough deals. Take away the glitz, and it’s a pretty accurate depiction of what it can be like to work in real estate.
Brokers are working harder than ever these days, too, in an environment that can be unforgiving. But working hard is part of the job. Brokers who find ways to help their teams work smarter and get more out of the work they put in are the ones blazing past their competition. Those who take smart action are overtaking the ones who are sitting on their hands, waiting for interest rates to drop, a new quarter to start, or the right listing to magically fall in their lap.
The on-screen relationships on “Selling Sunset” may feel over-produced or inauthentic at times, but they reveal a basic truth that every broker knows: real estate really is all about relationships. And while reality show relationships are rocky for a reason (as Vox culture correspondent Alex Abad-Santos wrote about the show, “If I wanted something peaceful, I’d have invested in a saltwater aquarium”), brokers can help foster great real-life relationships that propel their businesses forward instead of attracting great ratings.
The key: instilling a culture that emphasizes close, meaningful, and mutually beneficial relationships between all the important people your brokerage works with: fellow brokers, real estate agents, transaction coordinators, and admins; lenders, title companies, and home warranty companies; service providers like contractors, plumbers, inspectors, and landscapers; and most importantly—current, former, and potential clients.
Technology is an incredible partner for cultivating relationships without losing the human touch. Brokers who want to give their agents powerful tools to help them maintain close (and profitable) relationships should consider upgrading their CRM.
In past seasons, Oppenheim Group agents have closed some of their most successful deals when they put aside their differences and petty squabbles and work as a team.
Teamwork doesn’t always make for great TV, but it is a key ingredient for business success.
As a busy broker, it’s hard to do everything on your own. And agents are busy, too! Real estate is a competitive industry, but competitive doesn’t have to mean cutthroat. A culture of kindness, respect, and accountability is the foundation of productive, mutually beneficial relationships. As the broker, you set the tone at your brokerage, and after all, teamwork makes the dream work!
You can’t be all things to all people. The Oppenheim Group leans into its location, areas of expertise, and niche market—and it doesn’t work outside of them. The lesson: know what you do well, be the best at it, and refer opportunities to the very best people to close them.
You can apply this lesson to your brokerage as a whole or to certain members of your team. You wouldn’t send a VIP listing to your newest agent, nor would you trouble your most experienced agent with a minor listing. If you specialize in luxury, you probably wouldn’t also work on multi-family listings. Specializing is an amazing way to stand out while also getting better at what you do.
At the same time, expanding your niches can be a significant opportunity. In uncertain times like these, growth in new areas is good, but if you try to expand into an area you know nothing about, your hopes may be dashed faster than you think.
How do you think the Oppenheim Group got approached about doing a reality show in the first place? By having an indelible brand that everyone was talking about—not just potential buyers and sellers. And the increased publicity has certainly helped them with their business!
You don’t have to have your own TV show to leverage the power of an amazing brand. Having an identifiable, recognizable, trusted brand attracts more new business and encourages repeat business, as leaders like Real Estate One and SERHANT. can attest. And building a consistent brand isn’t necessarily difficult or expensive: with automated tools like a digital marketing suite, you can project a consistent brokerage brand across your entire team’s sphere of influence without breaking the bank.
None of us has a crystal ball. As a broker, you can prepare for the unknown in one of two ways. In the case of “Selling Sunset,” a lot can happen: cast members leave, controversies erupt, viewer expectations and loyalties shift. But it has overcome these challenges and is releasing a seventh season. And so, the last business lesson from “Selling Sunset” is that if you’re ready for anything, you can overcome anything (and hopefully sans controversy!).
How can your brokerage prepare for anything?
Technology isn’t going to replace us, but those of us who embrace technology will replace those who don’t.
We can’t predict the future, but we know it’s bright with technology by our side.
Constellation1 is your source for brokerage technology, with front office and back office solutions you can combine to create an all-in-one brokerage management platform. When you’re done watching the latest seasons of “Selling Sunset” get in touch to learn how our technology is powering some of the best brokerages in the world and how it could help your brokerage, too.